Friday, August 23, 2013

Cornell Goat and Sheep Health Day

Dear Goat and Sheep Enthusiasts,
We are having to cancel both Caprine Outing (scheduled for September) and the Cornell Sheep and Goat Symposium (scheduled for November) this year.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause folks.
The good news is that we (the Cornell Department of Animal Science) will be hosting a Goat and Sheep Health Day on the same weekend that Caprine Outing was scheduled to take place.  The event will take place primarily on Saturday, September 21st, 2013 at Morrison Hall and the Livestock Pavilion on the Cornell University Campus in Ithaca, New York. 
We will also have some activities on Friday evening, September 20th, 2013 such as 1) a cheese making workshop taught by Holly Phillips of Straitgate Farm, 2) Goat/Sheep Bowl led by Jo Ellen Roehrig,  and 3) “Basic Health Management for Goats and Sheep” taught by Dr. Michael Thonney.
Saturday’s activities will include tracks geared towards 1) the 12 yrs. old and under crowd, 2) the teen crowd, and 3) adults. All youth 16 years and younger must be accompanied by adults.  Adults can opt to attend the youth workshops with their children or attend the adult activities. We will also have a recreational goat track ( Mark and Janet Collier) with limited space where youth can make a pack saddle frame and learn about managing and handling pack goats, etc.  There will also be a workshop on pack goats in the adult track.
The 12 and under crowd will get to work on crafts such as leather making, fiber arts - felt making, dyeing, etc., cooking with lamb and goat (fudge making and lamb burgers?), and a hands-on workshop led by Dr. Susan Kerr DVM on making sure your animal and their products are top notch in quality. They will also have hands-on activities on how to tell if your goat is sick, handling lambing and kidding, and management skills such as hoof trimming, eartagging, etc.
The teen track will have workshops on evaluating breeding stock animals for show and commercial use, quality assurance (where they will do hands-on necropsies looking for human caused damage- taught be Dr. Susan Kerr, DVM), and on possible careers in livestock health (moderated by Dana Palmer). They and the adults  will have hands-on practicals on dealing with dystocia and weak kids, management skills and emergency health care.  
Dr. Mary Smith DVM will lead a field necropsy workshop (space limited) geared primarily at adults and young adults.  She will also teach a lambing and kidding workshop for all ages and a workshop on “Highlights of the International Sheep Veterinary Congress in New Zealand” which is geared towards adults and will focus on innovative programs to control or eradicate specific contagious diseases in sheep and goats. The adult track will also include a sheep and goat parasite workshop series for those adults and older teens wanting to obtain FAMACHA certification. This series will include a lab on fecal worm egg evaluations. There will also be a lecture geared towards adults on “new innovations in goat and sheep parasite control” which will include the preliminary results of our copper oxide wire particle studies as well as the results of other recent research in the U.S.
For those of you who want to spend either Friday and/ or Saturday night in the Ithaca area there are some options.  We have blocked rooms at some hotels in Ithaca and Cortland. Prices are relatively high because it is also Homecoming Weekend.  In addition we have rented 4-H Acres in Ithaca, NY for Friday and Saturday night for 4-H families and 4-H clubs.  All adults who stay at the camp must be screened as approved chaperones by their respective counties.  There will be both a girls/women dorm and a boys/men dorm. You will need to provide a cot or air/foam mattress and sleeping bag for each of your participants.  We will provide an extra chaperone of each gender in the event that you are bringing youth that are a different gender than your chaperones. A limited amount of tent camping is also permitted. Again, this facility is limited only to enrolled 4-H families or clubs.
I am hoping to send out the schedule and registration form for our September 21st Cornell Goat and Sheep Day by this Friday, August 23rd. Some of the workshops will be limited in space and we will be very serious about registration deadlines. We will also be posting it on-line at , and . Stay tuned! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Upcoming Events

Saturday, August 24, 2013 -- "Truly Wild" wild edibles workshop led by Pat Banker at Heaven Hills Farm in Lake Placid in coordination with the Cornell Cooperative Extension and Franklin County 4H. Take a walk with her and learn about all the late summer edible plants in the Adirondacks. Also learn about which ones are good or bad for our goats. Starts at 1pm. The “Truly Wild” workshop cost will be a one-time $10 per participant fee with a special rate for families not to exceed $30 for the entire 4-part series.  Pre-registration is required. Register by calling the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office, 518-483-7403 or by calling Pat Banker, 518-327-3457.

Saturday, August 31, 2013 -- "Farm 2 Fork Festival" at Riverside Park in Saranac Lake. From 9 am - 2pm. A celebration of local food and local farmers. There will be tasting tables with food prepared from the local farmer's markets, as well as other food vendors. Farm stands and craft vendor booths will be there. Several workshops will go on throughout the day, including one on goats and goat care. Goat milking demos will also be part of the day. Come on down to Saranac Lake for a great day of food and farming fun!! Free to walk around, bring money for the great local food and crafts.

 Saturday, September 28, 2013 -- "Rural Skills and Homesteading Festival" at the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC). From 10am - 4pm. Workshops presented throughout the day on everything from mushroom farming to butchering chickens. The Goat Club will be there to do a milking demo at 11:30am. There will be a Farmer's Market and crafter booths. $5 per person or $10 per carload. For more information see :

Friday, August 2, 2013

Evaluating your dairy kids for their good qualities

Here is a checklist of things to look at when evaluating which dairy kids to keep and breed, and which kids to get rid of. This works for adult goats too. I pulled this off of the “Caprine Conformation Clinic” group on Facebook.

FIRST- depth in the heart girth- when viewed straight on from the side the chest floor should be below the elbows, the deeper the better. Related to this- you should see chest/brisket in front of the point of shoulder & front of the front legs. The elbows should be snug to the barrel.

SECOND- Width in the chest floor- This can be hard on fuzzy babies. Put your hand under their chest from the front- feel how wide the flat base of the chest is. Also feel for fullness in the crops- put your hand from side to side across the back, right behind the withers- feel the spring of rib? You want width in the crops- it corresponds to the chest floor (usually).

THIRD- Width in the head- who has the wider muzzle from the front and deeper jaw from the side?

FOURTH- Cannon bone- Look at them straight on from the side, standing normally. Draw an imaginary line parallel to the ground from the knees towards the back of the goat- are the hocks higher than that line? Then the doe is short in the cannon bone. Level is good, sometimes you will have a little more length in the cannon than the hock. A doe that is level from knees to hocks may have short cannon bones- but in that case she isn't short in the cannon bone, she is just short! If the doe is shorter in the front, she will likely be high in the rump or low in the front end.

FIFTH- Length/width of rump- Use a ruler if you need to. Measure from the hip to the pins- who has the longer rump? Sink an imaginary plumb line down from the point of hip to the ground- remember the fore udder will seldom be further forward than this imaginary line. Watch from the rear- whose rump is wider, who walks with more openness into the escutcheon, when they stop naturally, who stands with more width between the hocks?

SIXTH- Legs & topline- watch them walk straight at you from the front- do they track straight? Toes pointed forward? Are the pasterns upright? Are they short and strong looking? When in motion, from the side, does the body look long? Do they level out over the topline and rump in motion, or do they reach far enough under the body with the hind legs that the withers appear to be uphill (that is good)?

SEVENTH- Feel the ribs for bone pattern. The ribs should feel flat, be widely spaced, point towards the rear (flank), and the last rib should be as long as possible. The rear cannon bone, from the rear, should look flat on the sides, not round like a Boer leg.